People Love to Throw Around the Phrase ‘Natural Beauty’. Then They Go to New Zealand...
The ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ – it’s a classic Kiwi understatement if there ever was one. And while most travellers are drawn here for those epic experiences out in nature – the open spaces, the dusted peaks, the lakes that pop with blue and make a mockery of Instagram filters – that stuff is just the tip of the glacier. From the feather-clad harbingers of Maoritanga to the happening backstreets of Wellington and Dunedin, this country jumps with vitality in more ways than the merely geological. Come for the bubbling geysers, stay for the friendliest folk in the southern hemisphere.
Akaroa. Sheep graze almost to the water's edge in the many small bays indenting the coastline of Banks Peninsula, the nub that juts into the Pacific east of Christchurch. On the southern side of the peninsula, in a harbor created when the crater wall of an extinct volcano collapsed into the sea, nestles the fishing village of Akaroa (Māori for "long harbor"). The port is a favorite day trip for Christchurch residents on a Sunday drive, and on the weekends.
Napier. Sip the fine wines of legendary producers, visit Cape Kidnappers’ crowds of birdlife, and wander the stylish streets of the world’s art deco capital, during your time in handsome Napier. Located on the huge arc of Hawke’s Bay, Napier enjoys a generous Mediterranean style climate and a breezy cafe culture. A green, outdoor town, wander Marine Parade, which borders the rich blue Pacific and invites you to stroll along a tree-lined two-mile seafront.
Fiordland National Park. New Zealand's fiord country along with Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand's premier attractions. Incredibly beautiful, wild and remote, the region is an intriguing combination of rugged mountain ranges, dense rainforest, solitary alpine lakes, sparkling rivers and splashing waterfalls. Much of Fiordland is virtually unexplored wilderness and still the habitat of rare birds. As the ship cruises the beautiful Doubtful, Dusky and Milford Sounds, experience the majestic fiordland of South Island's western coast.
Doubtful Sound. As with all of New Zealand’s fiords, Doubtful Sound is a masterpiece of nature. The only way to reach it is by boat, crossing Lake Manapouri, so of the three Sounds (Dusky and Milford being the other two), Doubtful is the least touristy. Thus those who are lucky enough to experience Doubtful Sound deserve it. Because of the Sound’s inaccessibility, you’ll encounter very few people as you float through the silent waterways. Animals, however, are a different matter.
Auckland. Blending beachy recreation with all the delights of a modern, diverse and thoroughly multicultural city, Auckland sits on the lucid blue-green waters of New Zealand’s north island. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, its two harbours will tempt you with waterfront walks, and the chance to breathe fresh sea air deep into your lungs while absorbing spectacular views of Auckland’s grand harbour bridge’s span.
Stewart Island. Within touching distance of the South Island's southern tip, the majority of New Zealand's third-largest island is handed over to a beautiful sprawl of National Park. Taking its name from the Māori word 'Rakiura' which means ‘land of the glowing skies’ this is an island sanctuary of radiant beauty. Sunsets and sunrise are magical, but it’s the swirling patterns of lights that dance across the heavens above that enchant above all else - as the southern hemisphere’s version of the northern lights dazzles overhead.
Wellington. Sprawling around a hook-shaped peninsula, Wellington is a vibrant and energetic seaside capital. A compact, well-stocked city of buzzing bars and chatting cafes, New Zealand's capital is a bright and breezy place with an infectious, easy-going atmosphere. Known as the creative hub of the South Pacific, there are shows to see, art installations to enjoy, and rich flavours to savour here. The sounds of rare and beautiful birdlife fill the hills around the city, and the bush of the green belt provides easy-to-access sanctuary, strolls and cycle rides.
Tauranga. Tauranga is New Zealand’s sunny capital – with wide sweeping beaches and surfers curling across cresting waves. Climb to the top for spectacular views of the natural harbour, or take winding coastal footpaths to explore the unfolding scenery. An entry point to the vast indent of the Bay of Plenty, the volcanic peak of Mount Maunganui is a fittingly dramatic welcome. Brooding, geothermal energy creates spectacular natural attractions across this region, while plunging waterfalls, and fascinating Maori culture ensures that the Bay of Plenty has a lot to offer visitors.
If you’re after a small ship cruise or an expedition ship cruise to New Zealand Wild Earth Travel can help you find a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to guide you through our range of different options with impartial advice so you can experience the very best of this unique destination. Our team are all passionate expedition & small cruise ship travellers and our knowledge and stories come from our own personal experiences.